Solving Jaw Pain
23 January 2017
Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ-S) refers to a cluster of conditions characterized by pain in the 2 joints – 1 each side - that connect - the jaw to the skull.
In the middle of the joint we find a soft fibrous disc that similar to the knee meniscus and acts as a cushion between the bony surfaces of the jaw and the skull during movement.
Balanced = Healthy: the jaw the only bone in the human body that needs its two joints to work in a perfectly coordinated and synchronised fashion, similar to a pair of ice figure skaters, in order to obtain smooth, effective, painless movements.
What causes TMJ-S? The cause of TMJ-S remains unclear, but among the most common culprits we can mention particular jaw shapes, abnormal articular discs, uneven contact between upper (maxillary) and lower (mandibular) teeth. Stress or postural induced tensions seems to be among the most commonly mentioned factors that can involve lip biting, unconsciously grinding our teeth (Bruxism) during the night or clenching our jaw in particularly stressful moments of our day.
What can be done? The identification of TMJ Syndrome is a complex task and it should be put in the hands of professionally qualified health professionals such as dentists, GPs and Specialists focused on chronic pain conditions.
Non-invasive therapeutic approach: most patients with TMJ disorders can improve with or without treatment, conservative therapies to address symptoms should be encouraged before invasive treatments or drugs are considered. These treatments can reduce the extension of painful acute episodes as well as the level of pain associated and there are many non-invasive therapies commonly used for the treatment of TMJ disorders. The disciplines of medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, and psychology can all provide effective treatment.
Massimo Raballo – Sports & Remedial Therapist Specialised in TMJ
Massimo’s interest in the treatment of TMJ related syndromes started in 2003 while working with the Sydney University Swimming Team with Olympic athletes such as Geoff Heugill , Elka Graham, and Kirsten Thompson.
At that time Dr. Anthony Ancell was researching the effects of dental splints on athlete’s performances and Massimo was involved as soft tissue therapist to release the muscles surrounding the TMJs - especially lateral pterygoid - prior the insertion of temporary or permanent splints.
Because anecdotal evidence showed positive effects on neck tension and headaches - considered among the common TMJS symptoms - Massimo has developed a treatment involving the combination of intra and extra oral techniques that, in the majority of clients treated, noticeably reduces the levels of pain – including headaches - and other symptoms such as neck and other muscle stiffness overall improving the functionality of the jaw and related muscles. Similar techniques can be applied to reduce oral and cervical muscle tensions and pain post dental surgery.
In Perth since 2007, Massimo has collaborated with several dentists specialising in treatment of TMJ Syndrome and offers not-invasive treatment of TMJ conditions and the management of scar tissue.